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Synesthesia the book companion to the sketch of the day blog project

From July of 2009 to July of 2010, you might remember a little project that I worked on, called sketch of the day. In case not, here’s the official details. I did a sketch a day inspired by a song in my music collection. I say music collection because yes, I’m that person who still buys CDs and records. I had six basic rules or guidelines for each sketch.

  1. Black & white only
  2. One round of revisions
  3. No references
  4. Song titles must be included
  5. Completed in under an hour
  6. No bands could be repeated

“Synesthesia” chronicles the project from beginning to end with all 366 sketches organized into reoccurring themes. In addition, the 274 page book includes finalized posters, shirts, prints, as well as some of the emails from the bands featured for a unique behind-the-scenes look into my daily drawing. I even have a chapter dedicated to my mistakes. Check twice, ink once.

You can check out a 39 page preview, and pick up your copy at Blurb.

I thank everyone who visited and commented on the posts, and I hope that you find “Synesthesia” to be a great addition to the project.

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

2010 Rewind books featuring the work of Creative SquallI thought with all of the year end wrap ups, best ofs and recaps that I’d join in on the fun and celebrate what has been an awesome year for Creative Squall. True it’s a little “pat yourself on the back,” but as my friend Jeff Fisher says “If you don’t toot your own horn, who will?” Honestly, while I’m proud of the achievements from 2010, I know that I couldn’t have done it without the great group of clients, friends, family and the inspiration that I get from the design industry that I’m happy to be a part of everyday.

I didn’t write the book on design, but I was fortunate enough to be included

This year marked the first year that I made a concerted effort to actually enter work into design competitions like the The Addy’s as well as submit work for publication. With the results, I’m not quite sure of why I waited almost 15 years to do so. Here’s the list in case you were wondering.

In addition, a wedding invitation design package was featured in May 2010 Issue of HOW magazine for the article titled “You’re Invited” on pg. 74 about paper selection for wedding invitation design. As a long time reader of HOW, I think this was the biggest moment for me all year. The same invitation design was featured on the Finch Paper blog, and appeared in 1000 More Greetings.

I had to draw the line somewhere

Mountain GoatsI completed the year long sketch of the day project in late July which helped me hone my drawing skills, let go of my need to polish everything and reminded me again of just how important music is in my life. If you aren’t familiar with the project, you can see what it’s about here and see what I spent an hour of my day on for over a year. I’ve just finished laying out the book version which includes some finished poster designs. You didn’t think I could let 366 sketches sit unpolished forever did you? I’m hoping to send the book to print in the next couple of weeks which will eventually be on sale at Blurb books. I’ll be posting more info soon.

Tweeting’s great, but talking’s better

I jumped on the Twitter wave in late 2009, and instantly made some great friendships — note I didn’t say connections. I had an opportunity at the HOW design conference in June to meet many of my Twitter friends in person for the first time. It really drove home how important it is to not only connect with people through social media, but make friends offline as well. Jamie Saunders from Neenah Paper has easily become one of my favorite people that I met this way. She introduced me to Jeni Herberger, Steve Gordon of RDQLUS Creative, Jeff Fisher of LogoMotives all of whom I have been following on Twitter and admiring their work for sometime. Jamie and Jeff were nice enough to drop some paper knowledge for “The Paper Cuts Series” on the Squall Line. Jeni and Steve are helping me out with my next blog project about creativity in non-traditional creative jobs which will be starting early next year. Don’t worry I’ll post details soon! But more importantly, I hope to meet many of you in person in 2011.

Next year will go to 11

From everything that I’ve seen and heard over the last few months, I think we’re all in for a big 2011. I hope to keep building on what started for me 2 years ago when I was laid off. So, pop open the champagne and join me in a toast.

Here’s to more awards, strong partnerships, and great friends — past, present and future.

The winner decided unanimously by everyone who voted is Garbage, “Stroke of Luck.”

Thanks to everyone who voted, followed and supported this effort over the past year. I’ll post details of posters for sale in the coming weeks, as well as more details about Synesthesia the book inspired by the sketch of the day project.

It’s been a few weeks since the final sketches went live, and I thought it seemed like a great time to put up the final poll. Cast your vote from the list below, or feel free to write in your favorite if you don’t see it in the list. You can vote until August 27th at midnight.

Here’s links for your convenience.
Garbage, “Stroke of Luck”
In Memory of Man, “My Sweet Cathexis”
Perfect Circle, “Orestes”
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, “The Mighty Sparrow”

Thanks for everyone that followed this crazy project for the last year, and a I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who commented or voted. The book is currently being organized. Be sure to check back for updates, and to learn about my new year-long project which will be unveiled in September.

Today’s entry makes the final sketch/song for this year long project. As I thought about how I’d like to end, I wanted to leave everyone with something not only incredibly personal, but something to make you think about everyone around you.

We all have people in our lives that have influenced us more than they could ever know, and unfortunately more often than not we forget to tell them how important they are before they’re gone. The song “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World is a touching song full of regret for not thanking the people around us.

I broke all of my rules for this final sketch.
I used references.
I spent more than an hour sketching.
I didn’t include the name of the song.
And I even did 2 sketches instead of one.

The first sketch is of one of the greatest ladies I’ve ever had the opportunity to know, Pauline Dobbs, my grandmother on my dad’s side. (Though we called her Mema.) I don’t think I ever saw her without a smile on her face, and that’s because I think she truly lived life the way she wanted. Whether she was gardening, making her famous Peach Ice Cream (which has been lost with her passing), reading, or just doing what she did best, listening, she was truly the happiest person I know. I hope that as I get older, I’m able to experience just an inkling of the joy she seemed to surround herself with every day. I miss you Mema.

The second sketch is of a person, who I considered my best friend for the first 14 years of my life, Eugene Runnells, my grandfather on my mom’s side. (Though we called him Pop.) I used to spend a few weeks every summer staying with my mom’s parents in Mississippi, and I truly think that was the moment I looked forward to every year. Pop always had stuff planned, but more importantly he spent time with me and my cousins making us laugh. I still have the Mr. Yuck faces that he cut out of the newspaper and sent to me, because I was such a picky eater as a kid. My mom recently showed me a photo that Pop and Mema Runnells took with a message for me. “Archie & Edith, April 9, 1978 – Tad, my hair was too short, so I had to put my flower in my belly button.” He had the biggest heart out of anyone I’ve known, and I hope that one day I can give half as much to the world as he did. My biggest regret is that the last time I saw him that he took the blame for me accidentally throwing away my 5th retainer at McDonald’s. He told my parents that he had rushed me. I was ever able to thank him. Pop I’m sorry, and I miss you more than anyone knows.

So, please listen to the song, and more importantly tell the important people in your lives how much they mean to you.

Jimmy Eat World “Hear You Me”

Thanks to everyone who has supported this project over the last year. Stay tuned as I begin wrapping up the poster and shirt prints of the poll winners to find out how you can get one. Also, I’m going to be developing the sketch of the day project into a book tentatively titled “Synesthesia” with additional goodies, finished art and stories.

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

I’m not the biggest fan of guitar, especially acoustic, but I’m absolutely amazed by the sounds that Rodrigo y Gabriela are able to make. I don’t think I’d be overstating their talent when I say that they may both be the most talented guitarists and possibly the best musicians that I’ve ever heard. Their sound pulls in the influences of flamenco and classical guitar, but the speed and technicality at which they play is other-worldly. Throw in the fact that they both are able to drum, hammer and tap the percussive backing to their songs all while hitting a million clean notes in one beat, and you have the ingredients for possibly the coolest video and audio presentation ever. They are currently touring in support of their new album. Though they aren’t coming to Dallas, I’m thinking about driving to Austin or San Antonio just to see them live. To put that in perspective, I have never driven more than an hour to see a band.

Rodrigo y Gabriela “Tamacun”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

A couple of weeks ago I did a song for Blakroc, The Black Keys hip-hop outfit. I was surprised that I hadn’t done a sketch for The Black Keys yet. If you aren’t familiar with them, their sound reminds me a bit of Jimi Hendrix with a heavily distorted blues sound and songs that typically deal with heart break and messed up relationships. They just released a new album that is supposed to be incredible. I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but the bits I’ve heard are awesome. I guess I’ll be purchasing that album soon.

The Black Keys “Strange Times”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

Troubled Hubble is a great indie rock band that has some of the funniest titles and themes of songs much like Minus the Bear, though they sound nothing alike. Troubled Hubble reminds me of a poppier version of Primus. I felt it was appropriate to take a literal approach to their song about passionate canoeing.

Troubled Hubble “I Love My Canoe”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

Sleigh Bells is an awesome new act from New York that is loud, distorted and a blast to listen to. I believe they are electronic, but the distorted sounds remind me of many early eighties punk bands which is probably why I like them so much. The album is on its way to my house as I write this. I think it was just released last month, though the band has amassed a huge following in the last year, particularly at SxSW. I hear elements of M.I.A.‘s influence in some of the material particularly the song “Rill Rill” which I almost did a sketch of.

Sleigh Bells “Tell ‘Em”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

I remember describing Deerhoof to my wife as a blend of the best parts of Sonic Youth, Mice Parade and Cibo Matto. Knowing that she likes all of these bands a lot, I told her that she’d love Deerhoof. The CD is on the way, so we’ll see how she feels. They’ve been on my list of must buy albums for about 3 years now, so I felt it was time to make the commitment and actually own an album by Deerhoof. I love the fact that they are able to take loud and raw sounds and intermingle them with open spaces and somewhat airy vocals. “Siriustar” in particular sounds like it could fall apart at any moment, which is what makes it so endearing to listen to.

Deerhoof “Siriustar”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

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